Maiden Voyage, Day 1

She said…

We’ve gotten really good at living full-time in the RV, now it’s time to learn how to actually go down the road in her. Last year, before we bought our Wanda (Fleetwood Bounder 35K) we went to an RV show in San Antonio. We went to several seminars conducted by a gentleman from Escapees, and committed at that time to attend the Escapees Boot Camp in Congress, Arizona in February. We decided that if we didn’t have our RV by then we would drive over and stay in a hotel and just suck up information.

Well, here it is February already and we have been living in the RV for six months. We have driven it home from the dealer in Albuquerque, to town twice to dump tanks before we got the macerator pump, and the short trip to Shannon’s parents’ house where we are docking until May. So this trip to Congress is really the maiden voyage!

We were scheduled to leave on Wednesday February 1st, but since Shannon’s teaching schedule gives him Tuesdays off we decided to leave a day earlier. I’m learning how to research parks and campgrounds, so I set out to find a place to spend the night between home and Meteor Crater, where we are booked in for Wednesday night. I found a city park outside of Gallup called Red Rock Park. From May to December this park is the home of the NM State High School Rodeo, Wild Thing Championship Bull Riding, several team roping events, a balloon rally, a circus, and the Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial, attended by members of every Native tribe in the US. The main campground has 121 spaces and there are two overflow campgrounds, a museum, post office, and trading post. During season this is a very busy place! But off season, it is beautifully quiet and peaceful. The views are stunning, with red rock walls towering on three sides of the campground. Our space, which would be very crowded during season, is comfortably isolated.

Our first camping spot at Red Rock City Park

The other reason I’m grateful for the extra day is that we have a better chance to get our sea legs under us. We are having difficulties with the gas tank not venting, so filling up with gas is a laborious process. In addition to that it was a rough start in general, and I’m sure Shannon wanted to abort the mission more than once. So far, the gas tank issue is the only real problem (my pessimistic husband is convinced there will be more and I am learning that every little thing that goes wrong is not the end of the world as we know it).

The last thing of note on our first day out is the cat. Elsie the cat seems to love living in the RV. She has her own private bathroom, and her own exercise track which extends from up on the dash all the way back to a very small turn around in the shower. She does not, however, like it when her house changes shape (slides in and out) and this practice of actually going down the road so the scenery changes in front of your eyes is almost intolerable. This time we tried putting her in her kitty backpack during the process of bringing in the slides and dealing with the gas tank problem. She was ok as long as we weren’t moving, and ok with moving as long as she was in my lap still in the pack. As soon as we were on the road I unzipped the pack and she made a noisy exit to her favorite hiding place under the bed, where she stayed until we coaxed her out with treats after we were set up at Red Rocks. My hope is that she will get used to the down-the-road part of our new lifestyle and that she will grow to like having new views all the time. But for now, tomorrow is another day, sad kitty, and we’re going to do it to you again.

Sunrise at Red Rock from my pillow.

Campground Rating : Price was $20/night for 50amp and water. Easy access dump stations on site. Clean and quiet except for trains in the distance. They woke Shannon up, they lulled me to sleep. Friendly staff. Beautiful surroundings. 133 miles from Albuquerque, 9 miles from Gallup. Great place to stop from January thru April, busy with sites too close together May thru December. We give it 4 stars.

Good job on our first non-reservation fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants overnight stop. So far this is great fun!

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